Of the many reprehensible advocacy groups in today’s society, I believe that perhaps the worst offender is one that we’ve seemingly forgot about: the Westboro Baptist Church. Claiming less than one hundred members of its own, this church often pickets military funerals and other large scale events with scathing anti-homosexual rhetoric. Their website is no exception, reading, “godhatesfags.com.” While this page is virtually dripping in inflaming pathos, it doesn’t come without its own logical appeals.
Directly below the site’s title, Westboro quotes scripture that supposedly justifies their abhorrent moral stance. To a Christian taught to love the bible, this creates a logical reason to agree with their message. Other citations of scripture can be found all over the site, including a tab reading, “God’s hatred in the bible.” Serving as a kind of clickbait, this tab paints God in a different, more negative light, stressing hatred through strict interpretation of the scripture. Tapping into human beings’ desire for simplicity, this tab presents facts via Bible verses as literal and direct, leading one to believe that the way Westboro makes them out to be is fundamentally correct.
Yet another logical appeal found on this site is that towards the top of the page detailing Westboro’s victory in the United States Supreme Court. A case centered around Westboro’s decision to protest military funerals, this case was decided in their favor and made huge national news. Given this fact, one is more inclined to further investigate Westboro’s message. After all, following simple logic, if the Supreme Court ruled in their favor, then perhaps there is something more to the message that they preach.
All in all, these two appeals to the human being’s ability to logically form opinions make Westboro seem slightly more tolerable than most make them out to be. Following the conduct of various other advocacy groups, Westboro actually does a phenomenal job of connecting the three Aristotelian appeals of ethos, pathos, and logos to further their endgoal. Like any other group, donations and further investigation of the cause are always encouraged, despite what is undoubtedly an obscene message.